NSFW: Brief language.
Last night, I had a friend chastise me for something I had done. In the broad scheme of things, it was something small, but something that had emotional importance to him. I apologized for my part in the situation.
Then my emotional brain kicked in. (“Emotional brain” is a term that I’m learning from reading “The Buddha and the Borderline” by Kiera Van Gelder, an excellent memoir into the author’s life with and recovery from borderline personality disorder.) How dare I embarrass him. He’s going to end our relationship. I might as well just quit now. Why would anyone want to be friends with such a loser as me. I might as well be dead.
That was the thought process I had last night. Now, imagine that I can type at about 45 wpm. Subtract 10 from that due to my inherent need to correct typos on the fly, and muscle memory repeating many of the same typos over and over again. Read the above paragraph at about that speed, and you’ll have a fair approximation of how fast I went from “sorry I made a mistake” to “I should be dead for my transgressions.”
My wife put out a call on Facebook for someone to talk to me. A lot of of the time, I don’t hear what she has to say, and that’s an unfortunate side effect of me almost literally considering her the other half of my brain and soul – I fight her as much as I fight myself when I’m being irrational. One of those people is my inspiration for getting healthier. (As God as my witness, I’m going to do the Spartan Race with you one year, D.) She was able to talk a little sense into me because I feel somehow more accountable to her than I do myself or my wife. It’s a little fucked up, but if it works … I promised her that I would treat today as a new start.
And I did, for the first hour, before my wants and desires came crashing around me like a burning building losing its roof.
What I wanted was small and insignificant, but it started a chain reaction in my head. I don’t deserve food. I don’t deserve lights. I don’t deserve the Internet. I deserve to sit in the dark and stare at the walls all day long.
But then I remembered my promise to D, and I dug deep within myself and reframed my situation. Just because I didn’t get what I wanted, when I wanted it, didn’t mean my day and my life were over. I could delay what I wanted to do until later that evening, and find something to do in the meantime. I could even concentrate on getting my checklist done today and give myself a fresh start for tomorrow.
And I’ve been working that plan hard. I’ve gotten my walk in already, and my to-do list is done. I’m ahead of schedule, and that makes me feel a lot better about myself – right now. But it’s still a minute-to-minute struggle.
I will not give in to my emotional brain, and I will overcome this recent bout of depression, even if it kills me.
… wait. Isn’t that counterproductive? *grin*